The manufacturing sector grew stronger in February 2017 due to the upsurge in production of petroleum products, food, basic metals, and transport equipment, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The Philippine Statistics Authority’s Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries (MISSI) reports that the Volume of Production Index (VoPI) for manufacturing grew by 10.7 percent in February 2017.

This is slower than the 11.6 percent growth recorded in the same month last year but higher than the 7.1 percent growth recorded in the previous month.

“We must double our efforts to strengthen the manufacturing sector and help it realize its full potential,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia.

“The sector is expected to benefit from an investment-led growth supported by stable inflation, increased spending on infrastructure and rural development, strong private consumption, and continued gains in overseas remittances,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Value of Production (VaPI) jumped to 13.6 percent in February 2017 from 5.4 percent from the previous month.

For consumer goods, furniture and fixtures posted a double-digit growth of 21.9 in volume and 16.6 percent in value of production, while food manufactures grew in volume and value of production by 20.6 and 19.3 percent, respectively.

“We must encourage firms to utilize science, technology and innovation to help them keep up with the increasing domestic and regional demands,” said Pernia.

For intermediate goods, petroleum products soared in both volume and value of production registering a double-digit growth of 47.1 and 95 percent, recovering from its contraction in the same period last year.

Similarly, wood and wood products swelled to 19.5 and 21.2 percent in volume and value of production, while non-metallic mineral products grew by 26.3 and 20 percent.

“This is a positive response to the government’s and private sector’s continuous efforts to ramp up infrastructure, as well as the increasing demand for housing from our expanding middle-class population,” he said.

The increase in production of construction-related manufactures is also bolstered by the positive year-on-year growth in the construction materials wholesale price index which grew by 4.0 percent in February 2017.

“We must empower micro small and medium enterprises to participate in the global market by enhancing their access to technology that will help them achieve economies of scale and enhance their capacity to meet the international demands in terms of quality and quantity,” said Pernia.